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Kono ryokan-no shokuji-wa umai-na

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Kono ryokan-no shokuji-wa umai-na. (The meals in this inn taste so good!)

Situation 1: Okubo family stays at a Japanese-style inn. They are eating dinner.

夫: この旅館の食事はうまいなあ。こんなうまいものを食べたのは、久しぶりだ。

妻: あら、いやだ! それじゃ、まるで私の料理がおいしくないみたいじゃない。

Otto: Kono ryokan-no shokuji-wa umai-na. Konna umai mono-wo tabeta-no-wa, hisashiburi-da.

Tsuma: Ara, iya-da! Sore-ja, marude watashi-no ryōri-ga oishiku-nai-mitai-ja nai.

Husband: The meals in this inn taste so good! It’s been long since I ate something as delicious as this.

Wife: Oh, no! That sounds as if my cooking is bad.

Today we will introduce various meanings and usages of the adjective うまい (good). In Situation 1, the husband says うまい to mean delicious, which sounds somewhat blunt and is used mainly by men. On the other hand, the wife uses another adjective おいしい to mean delicious, which is used generally; women tend to use this. Since うまい sounds direct, the expression うまいものまつり (Fair of Delicious food) is preferred as naming to おいしいものまつり.

Situation 2: Mituso is talking to his mother about a senior of his at high school.

光男: 山田先輩は、美大を受けるんだって。絵がすごくうまいんだ。

母: へえ! 受験、うまくいくといいね。

Mitsuo: Yamada Senpai-wa bidai-wo ukeru-n-datte. E-ga sugoku umai-n-da.

Haha: He! Juken, umaku iku-to ii-ne.

Mitsuo: I heard Yamada, my senior at school, is going to take the entrance exam for Art College. He is terrific at painting.

Mother: My goodness! I wish his luck in the exam.

うまい also means good/skillful at something, as Mitsuo uses it. It is casual colloquial vocabulary and might sound somewhat blunt, but in this meaning, women often use it in their daily casual conversation. For being a little more polite, women might use じょうずな instead, which is in the standard vocabulary. The adverbial form of うまい is うまく, and is used to modify the verb, e.g., 人前(ひとまえ)では緊張(きんちょう)して、うまく話(はな)せない (I feel nervous in front of an audience and can’t speak well). The mother’s うまくいく (to go well/succeed) is a set phrase in colloquial vocabulary. Another colloquial set phrase is うまくやる (to do well), which contains a somewhat negative nuance. Example: 彼(かれ)は、バブルの時期(じき)にうまくやって、大(おお)もうけしたらしい (I heard that during the bubble years he was successfull and made a fortune).

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. Mita and Ms. Sere are in an izakaya.

三田: やっぱり冬(ふゆ)は熱(あつ)かんが一番(いちばん)うまいなあ。

セレ: まったくだ。ところで、相談(そうだん)って、何(なに)?

三田: じつは、最近(さいきん)、先物(さきもの)取引(とりひき)をすすめられていて…。

セレ: あれっ、そういうリスクの高(たか)いものには全然(ぜんぜん)興味(きょうみ)なかったじゃない?

三田: 信用(しんよう)できる人(ひと)が、絶対(ぜったい)もうかるって言(い)うんだよ。

セレ: この世(よ)に、うまい話(はなし)なんかないんだよ。その人、どんな人?

三田: 高校(こうこう)時代(じだい)の同級生(どうきゅうせい)。すごく頭(あたま)のいい人で、証券(しょうけん)アナリストをやっているんだ。

セレ: だからって、信用できるとは限(かぎ)らないだろ? あ、もしかして、その人、女性(じょせい)じゃない?

三田: うん。すごい美人(びじん)。うまくいけば、つきあえるかも…。

セレ: [ひとりごと]うーん、美人に弱(よわ)いのが、三田くんの最大(さいだい)の弱点(じゃくてん)だなあ。

Mita: Hot sake definitely tastes best in winter, doesn’t it?

Sere: Sure! Now, Mita, what is it you wanted to talk about?

Mita: Well, uh, recently, a futures trade has been recommended to me.

Sere: What? You’re not at all the kind of guy who’s interested in taking risks like that.

Mita: A person I trust says that it will definitely be profitable.

Sere: In this society, there is a lot that is too good to be true. What kind of person is that?

Mita: One of my classmates in high school, who is really smart and now is a security analyst.

Sere: But, that doesn’t mean that person is trustworthy. Oh, I’ve got it! She must be a woman.

Mita: Yeah, a gorgeous beauty. If everything goes well, she may go out with me.

Sere: (To himself) Hmm…, being easily tempted by a woman is his weakest point.